Judge: Service dogs are medical equipment

Sunday, December 31, 2006

WORTH, Ill. - Police ticketed a family with three service dogs and one pet dog in late November for violating an ordinance that allows only three dogs in a single-family home. Service dogs Stitches and Brooklyn help sisters Kristen and Annalies Kocurek cope with their respiratory ailments by responding to various alarms on their ventilators. Skittles helps their mother Joanne Kocurek cope with lupus by helping with doors, cabinets and elevators. A judge, citing the American with Disabilities Act, argued that service dogs are medical equipment and not counted as family pets. He gave the family a reprieve and directed the police not to ticket the family again. But the police wanted the village to amend its ordinance to head off future conflicts. The village's Building and Zoning Committee did just that in early December.